“Our American culture’s fearful dehumanizing of black men materialized once again when Officer Wilson saw Michael Brown as a demonic force who had to be vanquished in a hail of bullets,” writes Michael Eric Dyson in the New York Times.
But on the day after President Obama held a series of meetings with Ferguson protestors, civil rights leaders and law-enforcement officials, my purpose here is not to rehash the case. The dividing lines—many liberals and African-Americans backing Brown, many conservatives and whites supporting Wilson—are all too familiar as the media have milked the story for ratings and clicks.
There has been some thoughtful journalism since the non-indictment as commentators in both camps struggle to understand what Ferguson means, and whether there is room for common ground.
What some African-Americans fail to see is that police officers have to make split-second decisions about defending themselves. Leaving aside the conflicting testimony about whether Brown was charging the office, there is no dispute that he reached into the police car, there was a struggle for the gun, and Wilson fired two shots. That cannot be wished away.